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22 Essential Armenian Phrases You Should Know

Armenian boys in a countryside
Armenian boys in a countryside | © Katiekk / Shutterstock
When traveling to a new country, especially one where you might not speak the language, it’s always a good idea to know some of the local lingo. Moreover, when you attempt to speak the local language, you’ll get a delighted and warm response from the locals. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Armenia, here’s a list of those essential phrases you need to know.

Greetings and essentials

Barev dzez (ba-rev d-zez) – Hello

It is customary and polite in Armenia to greet everyone when entering a shop, museum or restaurant. Barev dzez is the formal version of the Armenian ‘hello’, so if you are meeting with a local friend, you can say barev.

Shnorrhakalutsjun (shno-rha-kal-ut-syun) – Thank you

Probably knowing the word for ‘thank you’ in the local lingo is the second most important phrase when travelling to a new destination. In Armenian, this word might seem difficult to pronounce, but it is easy to get used to. It’s also more of a formal version and is used when you want to be very polite. Locals use the informal version, which is the French word, merci.

Ajo / votsh (ajo / votch) – Yes / no

Sometimes, you might go to a place where they don’t speak English, so knowing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in Armenian might come in handy. Pronouncing these words is quite easy as well, so you won’t have any trouble.

Neerhorutsun (ne-rha-hut-sun) – Excuse me…

If you want to ask someone something, or simply ask them to let you pass, you need to know the word for ‘excuse me’. You can also use the word in restaurants and cafés to call for the waiter. There is also an informal version of the word: knerek (k-ne-re-q).

Tsavum em (tsa-vum em) – I am sorry

Use this word when you want to apologize for something, such as accidentally stepping on someone’s foot or bumping into someone when walking in the street.

Khntromem (kh-n-tro-mem) – Please

When ordering a meal, shopping or asking for directions, knowing the word for ‘please’ is a way of being polite and respectful.

Sa es chem haskanum (sa es chem has-ka-hum) – I don’t understand that

When a person speaks to you in Armenian, you can say, ‘sa es chem haskanum’ to let them know that you don’t speak their language.

Tstesutsyun! (ts-teess-uts-yun) – Goodbye!

When leaving a dining venue or a shopping stall, it’s polite to say ‘goodbye’ to a person. For an informal conversation or situation, you can easily say tsae!.

Armenian and proud of it! © Idea Studio / Shutterstock

At the restaurant or bar

Menyun kbereq? (men-yun kber-eq) – May I see the menu?

When you enter a restaurant, first say ‘hello’, then sit down at a table and ask for the menu. You can do this by saying, ‘menyun kbereq?’. If you’d like to see a dessert menu, you can ask, ‘deserti menyun kbereq?’.

Jhur (jhur) – Water

No matter where you are, whether you’re having dinner or sitting in a café or bar, knowing the word for ‘water’ is important. Plus, it’s easy to remember.

Gini (gi-ni) – Wine

Armenians have a wide choice of different fruit wines that you will probably want to try, especially the pomegranate wines, so knowing how to say ‘wine’ in the local language may come in handy both in the capital and elsewhere.

Hashiveh kbereq? (ha-shiv-ek kbe-req) – May I have the bill?

When you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal or a cocktail at the bar and are ready to pay and leave, you can say, ‘hashiveh kbereq’ in a place where they don’t speak English.

People sitting in the cafe © Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Directions

Vortegh eh zoqaraneh? (vort-egh eh zoo-qa-ra-neh) – Where’s the bathroom?

This phrase comes in handy when you can’t find a public bathroom anywhere in the city, or if the dining place doesn’t have good signage for the restroom.

Indz koqneq? (indz koq-neq) – Can you help me?

When you want to ask a passerby for directions, or pretty much anything, it is nice to start a conversation by asking politely if they can help you out.

Arch, dzakh (atch, dzakh) – Turn right, turn left

Knowing some of the words to navigate Armenia’s cities and countrysides is quite useful as well, especially when asking someone for directions who doesn’t know English and guides you using the local language.

Vortegh eh kangareh? (vort-egh eh kan-ga-reh) – Where is the bus stop?

This one is also quite useful when using public transportation, and you’d would like to ask the owner of the guesthouse or a passerby to direct you to the nearest stop.

At the market

Inchqan eh? (inch-qan eh) – How much does it cost?

When shopping at a local market for fruits, or a flea market for souvenirs, you’ll need to know this essential phrase in Armenian. It is possible that vendors might not speak English and won’t understand what you are asking for.

Numbers

Tsrho – 0

Mek – 1

Yerku – 2

Yereq – 3

Chors – 4

Hingue – 5

Vets – 6

Yot – 7

Oot – 8

Inneh – 9

Tas – 10

Armenian woman selling traditional Armenian lavash bread to tourists © Arty Om / Shutterstock

Making friends (handsome/beautiful, let’s grab a drink)

Inchpes ek? (inchpes ek) – How are you?

If you’d like to start a conversation in Armenian and surprise some of the locals, you’ll need to know the phrase, ‘how are you?’. Similar to the word ‘hello’, this Armenian phrase has a formal and informal form. This one is used when talking to the elderly or someone you just met. You can use vonts es? when having an informal conversation.

Lav (lav) – I am well

After you practice the phrase to ask someone how they are, you’ll need to know the answer in case someone asks you back. This might be one of the easiest words on this list.

Im anunae… (im anu-nae) – My name is…

As Armenians love making new friends, especially if they notice you’ve practiced some words in the local language, they love talking to visitors in Armenian even more. Therefore, when they ask you what your name is, even in English, you can answer them in Armenian.

Es… (eess…) – I am from…

Once they know your name, the following question will be to ask where you are from, so surprise them by knowing the answer to this question too.

Armenian boys in a countryside © Katiekk / Shutterstock